In private equity, despite counterarguments about ‘investing in the future’, we aim to spend less because we see so much waste on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean we’re allergic to investing for growth; rather, our experience shows reducing waste is a more fruitful endeavour (at least at first). We’d love the exposure of running global ad campaigns or buying corporate jets, but in private equity we deconstruct everything with our mind firmly on the exit.
Consider your private equity exit as the day you can do anything you want: create startups, invest in other businesses, join boards of listed companies, or travel the globe. In order to apply private equity principles to achieve a better ‘personal exit’, you must learn to want less (and like it). This sounds like compromising, but it isn’t. As in private equity, keeping your mind on the private equity exit helps you to see the real value (approximately none) of instant gratification. This is the characteristic that creates successful entrepreneurs, investors or even Olympians.
This concept of deconstructing a problem with a firm view on the private equity exit or desired outcome isn’t new. Tim Ferriss talks about it incessantly and shows some very interesting real world examples (see his TED talk). And while you may see this as just self-help nonsense, consider that it’s built an enduring multi-billion dollar industry (the private equity industry, not the self-help book industry).